Comprendiendo los “hotspots” personales

Debido a los recientes apagones y las interrupciones en las redes caseras provocados por el huracán Sandy, miles de suscriptores de celulares en el Noreste recurrieron a sus teléfonos inteligentes y sus iPads para tener acceso a Internet en sus laptops y demás artículos. Éste fue el último ejemplo de cómo los “hotspots” personales están transformando la forma en que nos conectamos y, al mismo tiempo, haciéndonos mas portátiles.

Pero no todo el mundo se siente cómodo acerca de cómo funcionan los “hotspots” y cual sería el impacto, si lo hubiera, en planes de datos y presupuestos mensuales. Si todavía te preguntas si un “hotspot” personal es la solución adecuada para ti, aquí presentamos algunas preguntas y respuestas que posiblemente te ayudarán tomar una decisión.

Exactamente, ¿qué es un “hotspot” personal?

Piensa en un “hotspot” personal como tu propia estación con base en Wi-Fi que puedes llevar a todos lados en tu bolsillo. Los “hotspots” personales pueden tener la forma de artículos solos (unidades Mi-Fi, Jetpacks, etc.) o pueden estar integrados en teléfonos inteligentes o tabletas conectadas celularmente.

¿Cómo funcionan?

Un “hotspot” personal funciona tocando una red celular de 3G o 4G para luego compartir los datos inalámbricamente con otros artículos cercanos capacitados por Wi-Fi. La eficiencia de la transferencia de datos desde y a esos otros artículos reflejará la velocidad y potencia de la señal inalámbrica del artículo “hotspot” original. Ésa es la razón por la que los “hotspots” se han vuelto tan populares con la llegada de las redes de 4G: las velocidades mejoradas de la red han hecho que los “hotspots” sean más eficientes y más parecidas a las velocidades de red a las que estamos acostumbrados en el hogar y el trabajo.

¿Cuáles artículos se pueden conectar a un “hotspot” personal?

Básicamente, cualquier artículo con capaciad Wi-Fi se puede conectar a un “hotspot” personal y utilizarlo como su conexión de datos. Eso quiere decir, laptops, lectores electrónicos, iPod Touch, consolas de juegos, hasta televisiones con capacidad de Wi-Fi. Sin embargo, la mayoría de los proveedores ponen límites al número de artículos que pueden conectarse a un “hotspot” personal a cualquier hora. Posteriormente trataremos las limitaciones impuestas por los proveedores.

¿Qué sucede con los asuntos de seguridad?

Casi todos los “hotspots” personales vienen con encriptamiento WEP o WPA y se proporciona una contraseña para tu seguridad. Eso significa que tu “hotspot” está generalmente a salvo de usuarios no autorizados que puedan encontrarse cerca. Sin embargo, ten presente que la mayoría de los teléfonos inteligentes tienen como contraseña el número de diez dígitos del aparato o de la variedad de ‘00000000’ y, por lo tanto, fáciles de violar. Si tu “hotspot” te da la oportunidad de cambiar la contraseña original, aprovéchala.

¿Cómo sé si necesito un “hotspot” personal?

Si buscas constantemente un Starbucks o algún otro servcio público de Wi-Fi para poder conectarte y trabajar un poco, entonces, probablemente sea tiempo de que tengas tu “hotspot” personal o si gastas una fortuna conectándote a la esquemática red Wi-Fi del aeropuerto, ahora es tiempo de dar el brinco.

¿Cuánto costaría un “hotspot” personal?

Ésas son las buenas noticias. Hasta hace un tiempo, todos los proveedores principales cobraban por los “hotspots” personales lo mismo que por los teléfonos inteligentes: se exigía un plan de dos años de data, añadiendo un costo mensual separado de $20 o más. Sin embargo, siguiendo el ejemplo del plan “Share Everything”, de Verizon, algunos proveedores están ahora incluyendo la característica de “hotspot” personal en el costo mensual del plan principal del teléfono inteligente.

Sin embargo, eso no significa que utilizar un “hotspot” personal por medio de un teléfono inteligente sea gratis. En cualquier momento en que conectas un aparato a un “hotspot” personal y mandas un correo electrónico, navegas la web o haces cualquier cosa que involucre a Internet, estás transfiriendo data y eso contará como parte de tu plan mensual. Si piensas hacer un uso frecuente de tu “hotspot” personal, asegúrate de tomarlo en cuenta dentro de tu plan de data individual o familiar.

Ten presente que artículos de MiFi y Jetpack también están disponibles. Los términos mensuales dependerán del proveedor que selecciones. Un número cada vez más creciente de proveedores y operadores independientes de conexiones inalámbricas están ofreciendo también el alquiler de “hotspots” por día o por semana, lo cual puede ser una gran opción, especialmente si piensas salir del país.

¿Qué tan confiables son los “hotspots” personales?

Si estás utilizando un “hotspot” personal por sí solo, su funcionamiento es generalmente bastante confiable. Si tienes un aparato de 4G y puedes conectarte a una señal decente de 4G, la velocidad de transferencia de data es la misma que podrías esperar de una red pública confiable de Wi-Fi.

Los “hotspots” a base de teléfonos inteligentes y tabletas son más complicados. Como los descubrieron muchos usuarios del Noreste durante el huracán Sandy y sus consecuencias posteriores, los proveedores tienen la tendencia “estrangular” los “hotspots” cuando las redes celulares están ocupadas durante horas pico y emergencias. Eso significa que tu “hotspot” personal se podría volver “frío” y hacerse  sumamente lento. Si tu artefacto de “hotspot” es parte de un plan de data compartido, entonces no te costará nada si no transfieres data, ya que no está gastando la data que tienes permitida pero sí quiere decir que tu “hotspot” personal podría fallarte cuando más lo necesites.

¿Cómo convierto mi iPhone o Android en un “hotspot”?

Una vez que has cambiado tu plan de teléfono inalámbrico para que incluya la capacidad de “hotspot”, el activar esa posibilidad es sumamente fácil.

En el iPhone, ve a Settings > General > Cellular y selecciona la característica de “Personal Hotspot”. Después de activar la característica, te dará instrucciones acerca de cómo conectar otros artículos, incluyendo la contraseña necesaria. La característica de “Personal Hotspot” está disponible en el teléfono iPhone 3GS y modelos posteriores.

Para los teléfonos inteligentes Android que tienen capacidad para “hotspot”, la característica de “Mobile Hotspot” está integrada generalmente y puede encontrarse debajo de “Apps”. Cuando tocas el ícono de Apps y vas a “Mobile Hotspot”, verás instrucciones para encontrar la red en otros artículos, junto con la contraseña.

¿Aún tienes preguntas acerca de los “hotspots” personales? Utiliza la sección de comentarios aquí abajo.

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